It seemed unlikely that the US Department of Justice would share information with its Argentine counterpart regarding the US $35 million in bribes Brazilian construction company Odebrecht paid to Argentine officials between 2007 and 2014.
In his visit to the States last week, Justice Minister Germán Garavano said that “the [Odebrecht] case in the United States is still ongoing” and that “Generally, the information [regarding it] is shared once the case is over, especially when there is classified information involved.”
However, multiple press reports out of Argentina found that against all odds — and expectations of the Justice Minister — the DOJ sent over all information regarding the company’s shady activities in the country, per President Donald Trump’s instructions. “The Argentine government has the names of all former officials who received bribes,” he assures.
- Read more: Odebrecht Case: Garavano Returns Without Concrete News From the U.S.
On the list, the journalist says, there would be the names of practically all high ranking officials of the Planning Ministry, in charge of awarding public works contracts throughout the country during the Kirchner administrations.
Former Minister Julio De Vido, infamous Public Works Secretary Jose López — who last year was caught red handed trying to hide bags with roughly US $9 million in a convent that turned out to not be a convent — and former Transportation Secretary Ricardo Jaime, with multiple charges pending, are among the officials mentioned.
- Read more: Odebrecht: Govt Tells Prosecutor’s Office To Disclose Information Regarding Bribes In Argentina
Moreover, the journalist assures readers that the information also reveals that Odebrecht would have paid much more than US$ 35 million in bribes, but can only legally prove illegal maneuvers for that amount — oh, the irony.
However, despite having the information, the government still wouldn’t have the documentation to back it up and successfully prosecute those responsible. Should they get this, the prosecutors investigating the cases wouldn’t need to reach a plea deal with Odebrecht officials as they would no longer need them to in order to identify which Argentine officials accepted bribes. This would make things much easier for the government, as it has to pass a law creating a new legal framework to have this become an option.